I know it is nothing fancy but then again it is only for a 1982 Ranger fishing boat. I recently purchased this boat and it needed a lot of work, the dash being one thing. It had the original fake wood that had approximately half of the paper wood grain missing. I could have just painted it which would have been fine for my purposes but I wanted to eliminate a couple of broken gauges and add some additional ones thus I decided to make a new dash.
Fortunately, I have a 40 watt laser engraver in my personal shop (for hobby projects, not business) so I took an exterior piece of Rowmark (think plastic) which is white 1/8" thick with a .003 black capsheet and went to work. The resulting dash laying on my desk is shown in the attached image. Again, nothing fancy but it sure looks better than the original.
i could use those skills when I start putting my dash back together....looks real good. is there any before pics of the old one?
Attached is an image of the old one. You can see that it was butchered up quite a bit because someone had taken it off before. Obviously they could not figure out how to get the ignition out or steering off so they just used a saw on the dash. There was some writing already on it but I added the majority.
That's neat. How did you do the artwork? Is that thing programmable where you could throw a file in the software and it will print it out? My dash is usable, but I was thinking of replacement.
It basically works like a printer. I draw or import whatever I want to engrave or cut in Corel Draw and then print to the laser. In this case it took a lot of measuring to get the gauge circles and the switch holes in the right location. I actually would print it on the back of the material with the laser power set very low and then measure the very light outline that it had made on the material. If it was off a bit (which it usually was) I would adjust the drawing in Corel Draw and try it again until I finally got everything in the right location. The image of the fisherman was simply clipart that I imported.
It is actually easier to do than explain if you have the laser and software.